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How is Faculty Activity Reporting software effective?

Topics in Higher Education | Interfolio Faculty180

How can faculty activity reporting software benefit your institution? What results will you see when adopting this type reporting system? Here are just some of the benefits that your institution can realize after implementing Interfolio’s Faculty Activity Reporting (FAR) module.

Improving the quality of data

The more information you have floating around, the more convoluted your faculty activity reporting process is. For that reason, Interfolio’s Faculty Activity Reporting seeks to eliminate data redundancies. When institutions have duplicate databases, it results in decreased accuracy and decreased efficiency. FAR has multiple levels of customization, including adaptable tools for data input and reporting that help institutions create its required datasets, all while eliminating redundancies. Faculty Activity Reporting helps ensure that your institution possesses a complete, accurate, and easily accessible profile of its faculty.

Working from a single interface

In higher education institutions of all sizes, it becomes easy for information to pile up and become separated into various silos. Interfolio’s Faculty Activity Reporting seeks to combat this disorderly compilation of information, instead creating a centralized and secure interface that is easier and faster to access than multiple independent data sources — or worse, hard copies. You can import data from ERP systems, reference management software, course evaluations, grant databases, and other faculty reporting systems. Consolidating data into a single source will make it easier for faculty and staff to create everything from accreditation reports to grant applications to webpages. 

Providing access to information in real life

Even though your institution is made up of intelligent staff and faculty members, there will come a time when someone has a question about certain data or processes. Faculty Activity Reporting offers dynamic tools that encourage users to access the information they need at any given time – without wasting time sifting through countless siloed datasets. Equipped with the answers to their questions and the solutions to their problems, they can return to work with accurate insight.

Encouraging collaboration

In addition to collecting data into a single, easily accessible system, FAR provides permission-based access that allows your faculty and administrators to more easily interact with external users. For instance, you can give external parties permission to search the database using a variety of tags. When higher ed institutions have increased opportunity to interact with businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies, they can create and foster productive academic partnerships that further the goals of the university and its students.

Benefits of gradual implementation

Faculty activity reporting software can improve various aspects of operations. It may not be the best choice to roll out brand new faculty activity reporting software to every member of each department all at once. A gradual implementation process can be key to promoting transparency at an institutional level and will help ensure that this faculty-focused technology becomes an effective tool across the organization.

When you begin to roll out the new faculty activity reporting software, it may be wise to initially allow faculty and administrative members to join on an opt-in basis. Tenured faculty or long-time administrative staff members may be reluctant to adopt the new system. Rather than expecting them to quit their previous processes cold turkey, you might encourage employees who have bought into the new system to show the other members of your organization how faculty activity reporting software is a time saving, streamlined way to view and report information.

This was a strategy utilized by Miami University, a university partner that worked closely with Interfolio to improve data collection and reporting. Before the university fully rolled out Interfolio’s software to its entire staff and faculty base, it worked with select volunteers across all organizational levels to determine the direct benefits they could gain from this platform and to identify problem areas to mention when providing training to the whole organization. By beginning with this buy-in system, faculty and administrators could readily work alongside their peers — particularly those less adaptable to change — in adopting this technology.

Figuring out who should have access to information

Since faculty activity reporting software is online, it can be easily transferred to individuals across the organization. Conversely, you have the option to keep certain pieces of information confidential, accessible only to certain individuals and their higher-ups. When you’ve implemented this platform, you have the autonomy to provide as much or as little access to internal personnel as you’d like.

Using the new software for faculty evaluation

Faculty activity reporting software isn’t just a means of viewing and sharing information. Organizations can use this technology to schedule, prepare, and conduct faculty evaluations. Administrators and faculty member leaders can select faculty members to evaluate for a variety of purposes — annual review, promotion, tenure, sabbatical, or any other occasion — and select who will sit in on the evaluation. In addition, personnel can use this platform to gather documents and other information that may be helpful to refer to during this meeting.

In addition to this evaluative tool, Interfolio’s Faculty Activity Reporting can automatically notify faculty of formal input deadlines, which may occur on an annual or semester basis. The platform’s faculty input workflows feature can document which faculty members have and have not completed this work and can then send reminders to those who have not.

When you work with Interfolio to strategize your faculty reporting capabilities, you are providing increased transparency and collaboration and improving the quality of data, thereby innovating the way faculty and staff share information.